This is a newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, commencing September 2017. It aims to provide an overview of the large trends in Canadian political economy. Text in square brackets [ ] is by Roger Annis. The most recent entries are at top of the list. Beginning April 2018, headlines in red denote articles by Roger Annis. These are published on the website main page and also listed in their respective subject categories. For months preceding December 2019, use the dropdown menu in ‘News pages archives’ in the listing of website categories. To find past stories on this and other news pages on the website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser.
Canada news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, December 2019
BC Premier John Horgan’s pipeline push betrays his reconciliation promise, by Judith Sayers, The Tyee, Jan 15, 2020 First Nations expected a new era from the NDP government elected in May 2017. Instead, the government has embraced colonialism and ignored UNDRIP law. (Judith Sayers )
* BC Premier Horgan won’t meet Wet’suwet’en during his upcoming tour to the province’s north, by Amanda Follett Hosgood , The Tyee, Jan 16, 2020 Premier rejects hereditary chiefs call for talks on pipeline as tensions rise.
* Court injunction being enforced by an RCMP ‘exclusion zone’ isn’t deterring Wet’suwet’en land defenders oppsoing fracked gas pipeline, by Amanda Follett Hosgood, The Tyee, Jan 15, 2020 A handful of people mill around in the land defenders camp about 60 kilometres south of Smithers BC. They are here to support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their opposition to a pipeline slated to cross their traditional territory. The pipeline would carry fracked gas from northeast B.C. to an LNG plant on the coast in Kitimat. Tensions have been high in the area since a Dec. 31 B.C. Supreme Court decision that granted Coastal GasLink an injunction barring land defenders from blocking access to the pipeline work sites…
[See immediately below for further, extensive reporting on this story].
Coastal GasLink fracked gas/LNG pipeline will be built, proclaims British Columbia Premier John Horgan. Report by Justine Hunter and Brent Jang, Globe and Mail, Jan 13, 2020 Read the article here in pdf format: Coastal GasLink pipeline
[This is the first, forceful declaration by the BC government that the Coastal GasLink pipeline, fed by fracked gas in the BC northeast and to feed a multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas export complex being built on the BC coast at Kitimat, will go ahead, ‘global warming be damned’. The government has already approved the construction of the LNG complex, has encouraged gas fracking expansion to feed it, and has bulldozed ahead with the highly contested, multi-billion dollar ‘Site C’ hydro-electric dam on the Peace River to feed all manner of industrial expansion in northern and coastal BC. In all this, it is fully backed by the government in Ottawa.
[Meanwhile, the battle continues over the other proposed pipeline project in BC–expansion of the Trans Mountain tar sands bitumen export pipeline from Edmonton to Vancouver harbour. That project is spearheaded by the Ottawa gov’t, which bought the pipeline in 2018 in order to speed up the expansion project. At the time of its election in May 2017, the BC NDP gov’t said it opposed expansion of Trans Mountain. But it never offered more than token resistance. Its ‘opposition’ was never founded on global warming concern; rather, its ‘concerns’ were the danger of rivers and streams or ocean waters being fouled by pipeline or oil tanker spills.
[Wet’suwet’en means ‘People of the Wa Dzun Kwuh River or Bulkley River’. They are a branch of the Dakelh or Carrier people, living in north-central BC and numbering 2,500 people. They speak Witsuwit’en, a dialect of the Babine-Witsuwit’en language which, like its sister language Carrier, is a member of the Athabaskan family. (from Wikipedia) ]
* RCMP establish ‘access control checkpoint’ as tensions rise over northern B.C. gas pipeline, Global News, Jan 13, 2020
* B.C. human rights commissioner asks feds to halt Coastal GasLink pipeline project, The Canadian Press, Jan 12, 2020
* Hundreds of protesters rally in cities across Canada in support of Wet’suwet’en people’s anti-pipeline stand, CBC News, Jan 8, 2020
* Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs reject ruling by B.C. Supreme Court judge that extends an injunction favoring continued work on Coastal GasLink pipeline, by Charlie Smith, Georgia Strait, Dec 31, 2019
* UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issues call to suspend construction of Coastal GasLink pipeline, Dec 13, 2019 (two-page pdf)
* British Columbia becomes first Canadian province to pass United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Global News, Nov 26, 2019
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs pose monumental challenge to $40-billion LNG project and BC’s NDP government, by Charlie Smith, editor, The Georgia Strait (news and entertainment weekly, Vancouver), Jan 12, 2020
* Some reasons why the rightward drifting BC NDP needs to watch its back, by Charlie Smith, editor, The Georgia Strait, Jan 4, 2020
* Standoff over gas pipeline project that violates unceded rights of Wet’suwet’en First Nation in northern BC, by Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, Jan 9, 2020
BC coast community braces for logging of natural forest at heart of park proposal, by Judith Lavoie, The Narwhal, Nov 22, 2019
Related: Two government investigations uncovered by freedom-of-information probes show BC Timber Sales gov’t agency is violating old-growth forest protection rules, by Judith Lavoie, The Narwhal, Oct 7, 2019 …The Sechelt First Nation previously objected to logging at Clack Creek, but has since withdrawn the objection. Calls to the Sechelt Nation from The Narwhal were not returned…
Without batting an eye, corporate and state media in the West uses the airline tragedy over Tehran to further war aims against Iran. [Jan 13, 2020 The U.S. assassination of Iran’s leading general Qassem Soleimani on January 3, 2020 was the latest act of war by the U.S. and its allies against the people of Iran. Ongoing and now-tightening sanctions by the West against Iran are another front of that war. The assassination and the immediate threat of more military action by the U.S. and its allies is the reason for the tragic crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 over Tehran on January 8, 2020 when an Iranian air defense crew mistook the plane for an incoming U.S. missile attack. All 176 passengers and crew died in the crash. Regardless of the tragedy, Western media is keeping up the drumbeat of violent overthrow of the Iranian government, including by inciting internal protest against the Iranian government. The headline of Canada’s Globe and Mail daily on Jan 13 captures the drumbeat: ‘Outrage grows in Iran over plane downing’. An accompanying photo shows perhaps one thousand student protesters at the University of Tehran criticizing their government. The New York Times headlined on Jan 13, ‘Protests over downed jet rage in Iran’, accompanied by a photo of a much smaller crowd of student protesters. (The Times‘ article and photo was reprinted the following day by the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest-circulation daily.) A photo gallery on the U.S. government’s Voice of America propaganda outlet similarly shows relatively small protests. Never mind that in the preceding days, many millions of Iranians took to the streets across the country to honour General Soleimani and demand that the U.S. be punished for its heinous act.]
Ukrainian plane brought down over Tehran ‘due to human error’ announces Iran gov’t, Press TV, Jan 11, 2020 Iran says a Ukrainian plane which crashed outside Tehran this week had flown close to a sensitive military site and been brought down due to human error “at a time of crisis caused by US adventurism.” In a statement Saturday, the general staff of the armed forces touched on the tense situation in the hours after Iran’s missile attack on US bases in Iraq, saying Tehran was on the highest level of alert “in response to threats by the criminal American president and military commanders” to hit a large number of Iranian targets…
Will the execution of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani’s drag Canada into a senseless war?, by Scott Taylor, editor and publisher of Esprit de Corps, originally published in NOW Magazine (Toronto entertainment weekly) on Jan 9, 2020
Read also: U.S. and Canada lied about ‘success’ in Afghanistan, by Scott Taylor, editor and publisher, Esprit de Corps, Jan 6, 2020
…Soleimani commanded Iran’s elite Quds force. This would be the same Quds force that entered Iraq at the request of the Baghdad regime in 2014 when ISIS overran Iraq’s Sunni Triangle and the U.S.-trained and -equipped Iraqi army simply dissolved into thin air. Soleimani’s Quds fighters and their Iranian-backed, Iraqi Shiite militia not only stemmed the rising ISIS tide but helped eliminate its proclaimed caliphate in Iraq.
One of the reasons that Soleimani has such a high public profile in Iraq is because he was regarded as the commander of the allied ground forces that eliminated ISIS’s last major stronghold in the city of Mosul. Those who closely follow events in the Middle East will recall that Canadian Special Forces acted as advisors to Iraq’s Kurdish militia who were directly involved in that same siege of Mosul. Does this mean Canadian soldiers were closely allied to a force commanded by the alleged terrorist Soleimani? Crazy stuff…
Western countries accuse Iranian missiles of downing Ukraine International Airlines over Tehran on Jan 8, 2020. It’s a familiar accusation process. [Canada and its NATO allies are well-versed in the art of politically-driven accusations when an airline passenger tragedy intersects with political and military objectives–in this most recent case, the objective being a continuation of decades-long aggression against Iran and its people. On July 3, 1988, a U.S. warship shot down an Iran Air Flight 655 between Dubai and Tehran, killing all 290 people on board (Wikipedia). The U.S. immediately told lie after lie, saying its ship had come under attack by an Iranian military plane. But the lies quickly fell apart and the U.S. issued a statement of ‘regret’ after some days. On July 17, 2014, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine (Wikipedia). Western countries seized upon that tragedy and used their ‘official’ investigation to escalate their new cold war against Russia. The investigation has never reached a satisfactory conclusion. On June 23, 1985, Air India Flight 182 was downed over the Atlantic Ocean by bombs planted on board while flying from Montreal to London. The subsequent investigation and prosecution by Canadian police and courts lasted almost 20 years and resulted in acquittals of the two accused. Key surveillance files were destroyed by police before a trial of two accused finally got underway, in 2003! (Wikipedia)].
Related: Ukraine airliner tragedy evokes memories of Iran Air shootdown by U.S. in 1988 and Cubana Flight 455 bombing on Oct 6, 1976, Common Dreams, Jan 10, 2020
Iranians have learned to fear U.S. wrath and Canada’s complicity, by Nazanin Moghadami , The Tyee, Jan 10, 2020 (Nazanin Moghadami is an Iranian-Canadian resident of Vancouver.)
Canadian gov’t can’t properly serve the interests of airline safety nor the families of victims of the Jan 8 airline crash in Tehran due to Conservative gov’t’s decision in 2012 to sever diplomat ties with Iran, left in place by Liberal gov’ts elected in 2015 and 2019. Report by CBC News, Jan 8, 2020 [Fifty seven Canadians, mostly Iranian-Canadians, died in the Jan 8 crash (corrected from the original announcement of 63 killed). A total of 138 passengers were en route to Toronto, out of 176 passengers and crew. The safety of those traveling between Canada and Iran has been compromised for nearly ten years by Canada’s banning of direct flights to and from Iran. Most European countries, too, have followed Washington’s diktats and cut direct flights to and from Iran. Passengers are obliged to fly through third countries on secondary airlines due to the harsh, anti-Iran air travel bans. In this case, passengers were flying to Kyiv on board ‘Ukraine International Airlines’, then on to Toronto.]
Lead columnist in Globe and Mail daily celebrates U.S. assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani. Column by Konrad Yakabuski, in Globe and Mail, Jan 9, 2020 (subscriber only). [The Globe and Mail heartedly endorsed the extreme-right coup d’etat in Ukraine in 2014 and it has led the media charge in support of Washington’s and NATO’s new cold war against Russia and China. Now it takes a new step in embracing extreme-right politics and big-power imperialist violence.]
Right-wing socialists in Ontario publish second attack in three days against the people of Iran. [For the second time in three days, the right-wing socialists of the ‘Socialist Project’ have published a statement by Iranian exiles snearing at the righteous indignation of the Iranian people following the heinous assassination on January 2, 2019 of Iranian Major-General Qasem Soleimani by the Trump regime in Washington. The two statements are published in The Bullet, the online bulletin of the ‘Socialist Project’, an academic think tank based in Toronto and Ottawa. The statements do not appear on the website of the publication, only in email bulletin form. They can be read here (Jan 7, 2020) and here (Jan 5, 2020). The rambling statement published on January 7 is full of violent rhetoric and scaremongering, calling for ‘class war’ internationally. It says not a word about the decades of violence and regime-change sabotage directed by Washington and its allies against the people of Iran, including the harsh economic sanctions in place for decades. The statement reads, in part, …”The US military’s assassination of Qasem Soleimani, one of the top military commanders of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s expansionist regional policies and its proxy wars in the Middle East, can lead to retaliation by the Islamic regime. Such retaliation, the threat of further US retaliation and a chain reaction could further destabilize the region and endanger the lives of thousands of Iraqis, Iranians and other ordinary people in the Middle East.” The ‘Socialist Project’ website does not list the names of the editors of The Bullet, only the names of the writers they publish.]
Hearing to begin in Vancouver Jan 20 into Canada’s play as U.S. stooge in extradition of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou. Report by Laura Kane, Canadian Press, Jan 5, 2020 …Justice Minister David Lametti has the legal authority to stop the process at any time, said extradition lawyer Gary Botting. “It’s really silliness for him to say he has to obey the rule of law because it’s before the courts. No. What (the law) says is that he can stop the whole process and the courts must comply with whatever he decides.” … A hearing is set to begin Jan. 20, focusing on the test of ‘dual criminality’, or whether the U.S. allegations against the Huawei CFO would also be a crime in Canada… The turmoil could have been avoided, Botting said, had former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould declined the U.S. request to arrest Meng in the first place [on Dec 9, 2018]…
Personal gains by homeowners is the big reason why governments in Canada are not serious about tackling housing affordability, by Bryan Carney, The Tyee, Dec 30, 2019 ‘About 64 per cent of Greater Vancouver residents are homeowners, and they have done very well as prices have soared‘ …We can address the housing crisis by bringing market housing prices down to levels that reflect local incomes, or by building enough non-market housing to meet demand. We’re doing little serious on either front…
Canada’s new frigates are being built to adapt to ‘ballistic missile defence’ if and when Ottawa decides to ignore opposition and join the U.S. program, report on CBC News, Dec 24, 2019 Canada’s new frigates are being designed with ballistic missile defence in mind, even though successive federal governments have avoided taking part in the U.S. program. When they slip into the water some time in the mid-to-late 2020s, the new warships probably won’t have the direct capability to shoot down incoming intercontinental rockets. But the decisions made in their design allow them to be converted to that role, should the federal government ever change course…
Journalist group protests Alberta government’s use of term ‘reporters’ to describe the staff of its pro-tar sands ‘war room’. Report by Bob Weber, Canadian Press, Dec 24, 2019 Staff in the Alberta government’s so-called war room should stop calling themselves reporters, says the president of the Canadian Association of Journalists. “Don’t pretend that you’re doing journalism — because you’re not,” Karyn Pugliese said Tuesday from Winnipeg. “When the government hires its own PR firm, that’s fine. But when you pretend that PR firm is journalism, that’s positively Orwellian.”
Earlier this month, Alberta’s United Conservative government opened the ‘Canadian Energy Centre’, often referred to by Premier Jason Kenney as a “war room” for reacting to and correcting perceived misinformation on the province’s energy industry. The centre has since published a series of articles on its website. Sources contacted for those stories have told media organizations, including The Canadian Press, that staff identified themselves on the phone as reporters…
Canada on track to substantially miss 2030 emissions reduction targets, government data shows, by Marieke Walsh, Globe and Mail, Dec 20, 2019 … Canada has pledged to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030… Kathryn Harrison, a professor at the University of British Columbia who studies climate and energy policy, says the biggest challenge facing Canada is that emissions from the oil sands are continuing to grow, meaning policies will need to both counter current levels as well as future emissions growth. For example, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, from Alberta to the BC coast at Vancouver is expected to increase emissions, as would the proposed Frontier oil-sands mine. “How much are the other sectors and other provinces willing to do over and above in order to create room for growth in emissions from the oil industry?” Prof. Harrison asked…
Documents uncovered by The Guardian reveal RCMP had snipers ready to shoot Indigenous land defenders blockading pipeline, Common Dreams, Dec 20, 2019 Critics are highlighting how police conduct contrasts with the Canadian government’s ‘truth and reconciliation’ efforts launched under former Conservative Party prime minister Stephen Harper and continued under the country’s current Liberal Party leader, Justin Trudeau.
* #WouldYouShootMeToo hashtag trends after reports that Canada’s Mounties (federal police) directed police snipers to target Indigenous protesters, Common Dreams, Dec 22, 2019 ‘How far is Canada willing to go to protect the billionaires who run the oil and gas industry?’
* Wet’suwet’en First Nation, RCMP spar over report that ‘lethal overwatch’ was ordered during arrests 11 months ago at protest camp opposing gas fracking pipeline across northern BC. Report by Sean Boynton, Global News, Dec 22, 2019 [The Wet’suwet’en First Nation lies along the route of the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline in northeastern British Columbia. The line would feed fracked gas from northeast BC to the proposed, multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas complex in Kitimat, on the northern BC north coast. The climate-wrecking project is heavily promoted by the BC government. Fourteen protesters were arrested on Jan 7, 2019 for ‘criminal contempt’ of a court order to clear a roadway leading to a pipeline work site. Charges were later dropped. A temporary RCMP detachment has been in place near the protest checkpoint since January 2019.]
The Canadian media gets a failing grade when it comes to its coverage of chemical weapons in Syria, by Yves Engler, published on his website, Dec 21, 2019
Related: ‘National Observer’ alternative media outlet offers no alternative on Canada’s imperialist foreign policy, by Yves Engler, published on his website, Dec 21, 2019
Closure of toxic ‘Northern Pulp’ mill in Nova Scotia is a major victory for First Nations, environmental activists. But it took decades and several generations of activists to achieve. Report on CBC News, Dec 20, 2019 [On Dec 20, the Nova Scotia government announced that as of Jan 31, 2020, it will no longer permit the ‘Northern Pulp’ mill in Pictou County to continue dumping its toxic chemical waste into Boat Harbour (Wikipedia), located on the territory of the Pictou Landing First Nation. The company announced one hour later it would close the mill. For decades, the NS gov’t has subsidized the mill’s toxic operations, including the forest clearcut devastation that feeds the mill. The closure is a major victory for the Pictou Landing First Nation and several generations of environmental activists. They fought tirelessly for decades to force the company and provincial government to stop the pulp mill’s toxic polluting practices, saying that if a closure was the price of stopping the toxic pollution, so be it. Local lobster fishermen/women and tourism operators recently joined the protest movement against the mill, tipping the balance, after the company put forward plans to ‘solve’ the Boat Harbour pollution disaster by installing a new waste pipe that would dump the mill’s toxic pollutants directly into the Northumberland Strait. The union representing mill workers, meanwhile, has decried the closure, calling it a sad day for forestry workers. Linda MacNeil, Atlantic regional director of Unifor, has told journalists that the union supports continued operation of the mill. That betrayal goes a long way to explain why it has taken so long to close the mill and why no plan is in place for mill workers and the forest-clearing workers that supply it to transition to new, socially constructive, work. Northern Pulp is a subsidiary of Asia Pulp and Paper, an arm of the Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas.]
* For 50-plus years, toxic waste from the Northern Pulp mill has contaminated Pictou Landing First Nation’s land in Nova Scotia, article by Joan Baxter, introducing the documentary film The Mill, on CBC, Aug 29, 2019 Joan Baxter is the author of the 2017 book ‘The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest’. The documentary film is based on the book.
* Rallies and fishing boat blockades aim to stop Nova Scotia pulp mill’s plan to continue dumping toxic effluent into the ocean, by Haley Ryan, Star Metro Halifax (Toronto Star chain), Dec. 18, 2018
* How a proposed pulp-mill discharge pipe is tearing a Nova Scotia town apart, by Jessica Leeder, Atlantic bureau chief, The Globe and Mail, Wednesday, Dec 19, 2018 (subscriber only article, read it here in pdf format: Nova Scotia pulp mill protested.) The ‘Northern Pulp’ mill in Pictou County, Nova Scotia wants to build an effluent pipeline that has galvanized the region’s fishermen in opposition. Workers fear their jobs are in jeopardy, tensions are rising and the struggle has spilled over into the courts.
* Actress Ellen Page says Nova Scotia government needs to ‘step up right now’ to stop Northern Pulp’s plan to continue dumping toxic effluent into the Northumberland Strait, by Haley Ryan, Star Metro Halifax, Dec. 12, 2018
As hospital emergency wards and morgues fill up, Justin Trudeau stands by Canada’s killer ‘war on drugs’. Report by Canadian Press, Dec 19, 2019
Related: More than 13,900 apparent opioid-related deaths occurred in Canada between January 2016 and June 2019. (Source: Opioid-related harms in Canada, published by Public Health Agency of Canada, Dec 2019)
Alberta tar sands shippers aiming to squeeze more bitumen onto trains by building diluent recovery units. Report by Geoffrey Morgan in Financial Post, Dec 19, 2019
* Tar sands extractors in Canada boosting shipments of bitumen by rail, report in Oil Price.com, Dec 2, 2019 …Oil-rich Alberta has removed restrictions on production for volumes that will be transported by rail. Canadian companies are looking to maximize this opportunity by boosting crude-by-rail shipments and by removing diluents from bitumen to make such shipments cost-efficient…
[The Alberta gov’t is on an Earth-wrecking warpath, proclaiming that its desired expansion of tar sands production in the province is being hampered by limited pipeline capacity for export (to the U.S., where the vast amount of tar sands and crude oil production in Canada is processed and sold). It is the relentless expansion of tar sands production that is driving the growth of deadly oil-by rail. The claimed dearth of pipeline capacity for export, hence the demand for rail, is a twisted way of describing one of the many deadly consequences of the expansion drive of the corporate/government death cult that rules over Canada.].
* Oil-by-rail shipments in Canada have undergone relentless growth.
Data below excerpted from: ‘Canadian Crude Oil Exports by Rail – Monthly Data‘, on website of ‘Canada Energy Regulator’ (formerly ‘The National Energy Board’):
Sept 2019 9.6 million barrels (one oil barrel = 150 liters)
Sept 2018 8.2 ”
Sept 2017 4.0
Sept 2016 2.1
Sept 2015 4.8
Sept 2014 5.7
Sept 2013 3.5
Sept 2012 2.0
Battle of the greenwashing plunderers: BC gov’t touts ‘environmental’ standards of its natural gas fracking/liquefaction (‘LNG’) megaproject over competititors in Texas. Column by Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, Dec 16, 2019
Imperial Oil files: How a Canadian oil giant followed U.S. parent Exxon into climate denial during the 1980s and 1990s, joint investigation by DeSmog Blog and Climate Investigations Center, published Dec 3, 2019
Related: Canadian tar sands firm Imperial Oil denied its own science on climate change, by Geoff Dembicki, The Tyee, Dec 11, 2019 While Imperial Oil was calling the link between fossil fuels and global warming an ‘unproven hypothesis’, internal reports had confirmed the connection
Crazy days in Alberta: The poison oil and gas wells file, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Dec 16, 2019 …Past and present Conservative Party governments in Alberta created the current, ‘orphaned wells’ crisis by failing to require oil and gas companies to provide security deposits to cover their cleanup responsibilities and by allowing them to put off remediation of inactive wells indefinitely… It’s a massive problem. The province has 107,000 wells that produce less than 10 barrels a day and are depleted beyond profitability. It has another 93,000 inactive wells — not producing at this time — and another 77,000 abandoned ones that have been plugged but not reclaimed. All need to be cleaned up. Bankrupt energy companies have already walked away from 3,500 orphan wells… More than 40 per cent of the oil and gas wells in the province are not pumping hydrocarbons or generating revenue. Many are leaking methane, CO2, radon or hydrogen sulphide into the air, ground or water table… In a 2018 presentation, Robert Wadsworth, vice-president of closure and liability for the scandal-plagued Alberta Energy Regulator, estimated that the cleanup liability for the province’s 400,000 oil and gas wells was likely at least $100 billion. Pipelines, he added, represented another $30 billion unfunded liability…
Victims of Danforth Ave shooting in Toronto July 2018 launch class-action lawsuit against gun maker Smith & Wesson, by Patrick White, Globe and Mail, Dec 16, 2018 read also: report by CBC News, Dec 16, 2019 …The suit, filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Dec 16, alleges that the gun maker, Smith & Wesson, failed to incorporate certain safety features into the design of the handgun that could have prevented the bloodshed. The claim seeks $50-million in general damages and $100-million in punitive damages… At the core of the action is a settlement agreement Smith & Wesson signed with the Clinton White House in 2000. The company acknowledged the threat of stolen firearms and committed to adopting smart gun technology in all its new firearm models by 2003, along with other design and marketing changes. Smart guns incorporate technology that ensures only authorized users can fire the weapon. The Smith & Wesson agreement collapsed when George W. Bush came to power and supported a law shielding gun makers from liability lawsuits….
Canada has a secret program that grants visas to war criminals, terrorists, security threats, by Brian Hill, Global News, Dec 16, 2019 [The scope of this news examination is limited to one case, that of a military official in Egypt’s extreme-right military dictatorship. What about the other extremist governments backed by Canada, for example in Ukraine?]
Sales of electric vehicles plummet in Ontario after province cancels $14,000 giveaway for new purchases. Report by Canadian Press, Dec 15, 2019 …British Columbia is now at ten per cent of electric vehicle sales. Quebec is close behind at seven per cent. In Ontario, electric vehicles made up around three per cent of total passenger vehicle sales at its highest point in June 2018 when rebates were cancelled. Sales dropped to below one per cent after the cancellation, then climbed to just under two per cent after the introduction of the federal rebate of $5,000 on May 1, 2019…
Now that Brexit is a go, what about the ‘CETA’ trade and investment deal between Canada and Europe/Britain?, CBC News, Dec 14, 2019
Alberta asks Ottawa to expedite approval of Teck Resources’ $20 billion ‘Frontier’ tar sands mega mine, Financial Post, Dec 13, 2019
Quebec’s Court of Appeal won’t suspend province’s Bill 21 banning the wearing of ‘religious symbols’ by gov’t workers, refers the matter to higher court, CBC News, Dec 12, 2019 Quebec’s Court of Appeal has refused to suspend the province’s controversial ban on religious symbols, even while acknowledging it causes “irreparable harm” to those affected. The province’s top court was ruling on a request to stay sections of the Laicity Act, or Bill 21, pending a ruling on its constitutionality. In a 2-1 decision issued Thursday afternoon, the court said the law should be allowed to stand until the challenges are heard in Quebec Superior Court. The law is being challenged with four separate lawsuits, three of which are expected to be heard together in October 2020. The Laicity Act, passed in June, bans public school teachers, government lawyers and police officers, among other civil servants, from wearing religious symbols at work…
Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou wins bid for documents related to her ongoing detention in Vancouver beginning one year ago, CBC News, Dec 10, 2019
Canada’s state media and corporate media self-censor reporting of Washington Post’s ‘Afghanistan Papers’ revelations of the lies, corruption and murder that underlay the war in Afghanistan. [Canada’s corporate and state media (CBC) have always treated as heroic the participation of Canada’s military in the U.S.-led war against the people of Afghanistan. So it’s natural that this same media would self-censor reporting of the grim findings of the Washington Post article series of just how illegal, corrupt and immoral was that war effort. A full listing of the Washington Post‘s ‘Afghanistan Papers’ series is here.]
Meng Wanzhou’s legal team wins bid for hidden police and immigration documents related to her arrest at behest of U.S. gov’t one year ago. Report by CBC News, Dec 11, 2019
Social media threats over tar sands cause cancellation of Alberta school’s holiday dance, CBC News, Dec 10, 2019
Related: Alberta premier Jason Kenney goes to Ottawa seeking gold, returns with participation medal, CBC News, Dec 11, 2019
NAFTA 2.1: The changes that Canada, Mexico and the U.S. agreed to, CBC News, Dec 11, 2019
Related: How the ‘new NAFTA’ will affect Canadians, by Scott Sinclair, The Tyee (Vancouver), Dec 11, 2019 Small gains for workers while the environment gets a shoddy deal
Canada not alone in considering whether to allow the sale of Huawei equipment in the new ‘5G’ telecommunication technology, by James Macleod, Financial Post, Dec 9, 2019
Billion dollar boom: Indigenous leaders in British Columbia see prosperity following the BC government’s adoption of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), Vancouver Sun, Dec 10, 2019 [The ‘prosperity’ which certain Indigenous leaders are anticipating is the familiar natural-resource plunder and urban sprawl of which capitalism excels in BC and the rest of Canada. Such ‘partnerships’ are advancing all across Canada, including in the production and sale of fracked natural gas in BC and tar sands in Alberta, and large real estate projects in Vancouver region.]
Trudeau vague on scope of national pharmacare plan, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, Dec. 9, 2019 New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh says he can’t support the Liberal government’s Speech from the Throne on December 5 because its pharmacare promise is too vague. He’s right, it is. …
The neo-Nazis in the Latvian military are the pride of the country, says the country’s defence minister, by David Pugliese, published in Esprit de Corps, Dec 3, 2019 (David Pugliese is a columnist on military affairs with Postmedia (The National Post and The Ottawa Citizen).) It may come as a surprise to the 500 Canadian Armed Forces members who are training Latvian troops, but that country’s politicians have embraced as heroes those who supported and collaborated with the Third Reich… The Latvian government and its supporters have tried to counter Jewish groups and others in Canada who have condemned the Latvian SS and Latvians who took part in the Holocaust. One of their main claims is that the history and articles written about the Latvian SS is “fake news” or Russian “disinformation”…
‘Gun control’ in Canada: On the 30th anniversary of the massacre of 14 women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, the semi-automatic rifle used by the killer is still legal and available for purchase, by Rachel Lau, digital reporter, CTV News, Dec 2, 2019 …Last week, the gun-control advocacy group ‘PolySeSouvient’ sent a letter, sent a letter to federal public safety minister Bill Blair urging him to fulfill a Liberal campaign promise to ban military-style assault rifles and crack down on handguns. The letter noted that gun ownership in Canada has reached a record high…
Related: Why the rifle used in the Polytechnique shooting remains legal, 30 years later, by Patrick White, Globe and Mail, Dec 5, 2019 [‘Gun control’ was a central plank in the Liberal Party election platforms of 2015 and 2019. Yet, nothing has been done to implement the measure. The reason is that like the ‘drug war’ or NATO’s permanent state of war in the world, gun violence plays a role in propping up the capitalist system in Canada. It instills fear and insecurity. Conveniently, and not accidentally, the source of this fear and insecurity appears to many citizens to be ‘criminals’ and ‘foreigners’ (eg ‘Russians’), not the domestic warlords, oligarchs and ecology vandals who actually run the society. Corporate and state media play a key role in selling this scenario to Canadians. The rate of firearm-related deaths in the U.S. is approximately eight times that in Canada. Wikipedia]
‘Logging scars’ show that impact of deforestation in Canada is worse than we know, research finds, by Ivan Semeniuk, science reporter, Globe and Mail, Dec 4, 2019 …In a newly released report, Trevor Hesselink has taken a big-picture look at the nature and impact of all those logging scars that can be seen from the air and arrived at a startling conclusion. Based on data gathered across a large study area north of Thunder Bay, Ontario, he estimates that treeless patches and scars account for 10.2 per cent to 23.7 per cent of the area of forests that have grown back after logging. And because these scars persist for decades, they amount to a net rate of deforestation (long-term removal of trees) that has largely been overlooked in Ontario and elsewhere across Canada where industry practices are similar. Mr. Hesselink is the director of policy and research for the Wildlands League, a Toronto-based environmental not-for-profit…
Right-wing, ecology-wrecking premiers of Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick launch nuclear power drive. Report by Canadian Press, Dec 1, 2019
Related: What are small modular nuclear reactors, and why are three provinces uniting to build them?, The National Post, Dec 2, 2019
British Columbia and Alberta find common ground on gas fracking and selling liquefied natural gas in international markets, report in Vancouver Sun, Dec 3, 2019 [The role of the BC government in running interference on the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline expansion (to triple the shipment of Alberta tar sands to an expanded export terminal in Vancouver) has always been exaggerated by naive or malevolent environmentalists (not to speak of lying corporate media). The BC and Alberta governments are closely aligned with Ottawa in promoting fossil fuel extraction/burning while ‘delaying and deflecting’ concern over global warming. Much of the environmental campaign against Trans Mountain has focused on the consequences of pipeline or tanker spills in local waterways and the adjacent Pacific Ocean coastline, not on the the global warming consequences of increased tar sands extraction, upgrading and burning. The end result is that a slim majority of Canadians persist in support to the Trans Mountain expansion, including in BC. Meanwhile, the above news report from the Vancouver Sun blandly reports as fact the lie that fracking/liquefaction/burning of natural gas from the gas fields in northeast BC is less damaging than the extraction and burning of coal. This ‘big lie’ is typical for the natural gas frackers in Canada and their chummy corporate media.].
Related: Trans Mountain to start construction on pipeline expansion, CBC News, Dec 2, 2019
Premiers unite behind a call for more aid to oil and gas provinces, by Sean Craig, The National Observer, Dec 2, 2019 and read: report by CBC News, Dec 2, 2019 …The current, national stabilization program is administered by Canada’s finance ministry and provides financial assistance to any province faced with a year-over-year decline in its non-resource revenues greater than five per cent. The money available to eligible provinces is capped at just $60 per resident — something Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says is inadequate given the size of the budget deficit the province is facing after oil prices cratered. Last year, Alberta tapped just [sic] $250 million from the program while Newfoundland and Labrador received about $8 million… “This is a tremendous moment of solidarity,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said…
The scandal over Bill Peters, fired as head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames for past racist slurs against his own player Akim Aliu, is only over when Aliu says it’s over, by Cathal Kelly, sports columnist, Globe and Mail, Dec 1, 2019
Related: Hockey’s racism scandal and its pathetic fallout show how much work this sport has to do, by Shree Paradkar, columnist, Toronto Star, Dec 3, 2019
Ottawa urged to place ringed seals, a bellwether species of the Arctic, on ‘at risk’ list, by Ivan Semeniuk, science reporter, Globe and Mail, Dec 2, 2019
Related: Arctic ringed seals are threatened species, U.S. appeal court rules, Associated Press, Feb 15, 2018 A seal that depends on Arctic sea ice for reproduction will receive threatened species protection, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. A three-judge panel overturned a lower court decision and ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service acted properly in listing ringed seals as a threatened species because of projected loss of sea ice due to climate warming. The decision reverses a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline of Anchorage who in March 2016 said the agency’s decision was speculative…
Protests by social service workers against Alberta government’s harsh austerity program turn to talk of general strike, Calgary Herald, Dec 1, 2019
* Thousands protest announced social service cuts at annual conference in Calgary of Alberta’s oil-soaked governing party, CBC News, Nov 30, 2019 and read: report in Calgary Herald, Nov 30, 2019
* Alberta’s fossil fuel-soaked government announces thousands of job cuts in health care, education and other social services. Report by CBC News, Nov 29, 2019 Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) won 55 per cent of the vote in the provincial election of April 16, 2019, unseating a one-term, soft-left NDP government that showed itself as equally fanatic in its participation in the fossil fuel extraction and burning death cult that rules over Canada.
* Alberta’s property-tax break for gas producers leaves municipalities facing loss of revenue, Globe and Mail, Dec 1, 2019 (subscriber only article) …Under the program, unveiled in July 2019, Alberta municipalities were asked by the government to cancel 35 per cent of property taxes for qualifying shallow-gas wells within their borders. They have so far received a rebate from the province’s municipal affairs department to cover the lost revenue, but from 2020 onward, there will be no provincial money to replace the lost revenue. Instead, municipalities will eat the anticipated $20-million annual cost of a new tax model that the province’s associate minister of natural gas says could reduce property taxes for producers by up to 40 per cent…
* County of Red Deer, Alberta bends to provincial oil industry tax break program, Red Deer Advocate (Black Press), Oct 15, 2019
Disgraced Prince Andrew remains ‘Colonel-in-Chief’ of three Canadian military regiments, The Canadian Press, Dec 1, 2019 …It took a full week of questions from the National Post for the Department of National Defense to confirm even that much about the scandal-plagued prince. The department refused to answer any follow up questions on the record. The press secretary for Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, meanwhile, says the minister wouldn’t comment at all beyond the department’s statement…
Lid lifted by freedom of information release on RCMP spying and disruption of social and environmental rights activists in Canada, by Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press, Nov 30, 2019 Rachel Small, an organizer in Toronto with the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, says the RCMP’s six-page profile one her is ‘creepy and unsettling’